Around since antiquity, the taking of masks of the recently deceased was done for various reasons, frequently to use as a model for later sculptural works of the subject. By the 19th century, the masks themselves became a valuable memento and memorial of the departed.
One of General Grant’s greatest desires was to see harmony and unity within his country. He served to achieve this in the Civil War and put his career on the line to see that reconciliation take precedent over retribution at the close of the war. He supported all veterans after the war as they were all Americans to him. In his final days at Mt. McGregor Grant received one visitor in particular who truly illustrated his view of the Civil War and bolstered his hopes for the future.
As General Grant faced terminal illness, the one thing that warmed his heart and gave him hope for the future was the outpouring of support he received daily. The support came in the form of letters, telegrams, resolutions printed in newspapers, and occasionally personal visits.
Many people look at Grant Cottage as the location where a General, President, and American hero completed his memoirs and died, however, it is also a special place where a family spent their patriarch's precious last days together. On display this season are reminders who a family lived together at the Cottage during the summer of 1885.